A host of local community organizations are in a better place today, having been bolstered by the generosity of University of Lethbridge residence students.

The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen was one local organization assisted by campus residence students. As the spring semester closed and residence students moved out of their campus apartments, both clothing and food drives were held to benefit the area’s less fortunate, capping off a year of fundraising and community outreach initiatives that connected students with their adopted community.

“We placed food donation bins in all of the residence buildings during the last week of classes,” says Steve Brodrick (BMgt ’09), director of Housing Services. “Students donated non-perishable food items and we made arrangements with the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen to have these picked up. Our staff then sorted and boxed it all up and we were able to donate a ton of food.”

Residence students and Pronghorn Athletics also teamed up for a clothing drive that netted a large donation to Value Village, who in turn sponsors Pronghorn Athletics throughout the year. These were just two of a number of initiatives undertaken by residence students throughout the year that benefited the southern Alberta community.

“We recognize how much the community at large helps students and we are always looking for new ways to show our appreciation for this and to reciprocate that generosity,” says Brady Hornung, past president of the Organization of Residence Students (ORS). “Whether through our Staches for Cashes fundraiser, clothing and food drives, weekly trips to walk foster puppies, or donations to national and international organizations, it is important that we give back in any way we can.”

Residence students jumped at the opportunity to volunteer walk rescue puppies. Hornung says students coming to Lethbridge are looking for new experiences and are eager to connect with their new community.

“The more our students can see themselves as contributing members to the greater Lethbridge community, the more comfortable they are,” says Hornung. “University is a time to try new things, and for many students that also includes trying community outreach and volunteering for the first time. The more we can do to facilitate this step, the more we are able to create mutually beneficial relationships between our students and the community.”

The Pies 4 Lives fundraiser helped raise money for local mental health initiatives. Some of the group’s outreach programs included raising more than $2,400 for the Below the Belt Cancer Fundraiser, $500 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, clothing for the Canadian Diabetes Association, $450 each to the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association Community Key Tree Ornament program and Days for Girls Canada, and weekly walks for rescue dogs from Prairie Pitbull Rescue.

“ORS has always been about fostering a sense of community and belonging for students staying at the U of L,” says residence assistant Hailly Harder. “It’s important for ORS to give back to the community because it creates an environment where students can feel like they are making a difference in the world, and they can choose where and how they would like to do so.”